LINCOLN — Already one of several New Hampshire ski resorts that sell year-round passes, Loon Mountain recently became the first in the Granite State to offer not just a four-season pass but a different way to pay for it, too.
Whereas most season passes are paid in full, Loon’s new Access Pass is paid in installments.
An adult Access Pass holder will pay $99 a month for unlimited skiing and snowboarding in the winter and “endless mountain adventure in the spring, summer, and fall,”the resort says.
Last year, Mammoth Mountain in California and Killington became among the first resorts in the U.S. to offer skiing by subscription, something that “Powder” magazine says makes sense in a world where “nearly our entire lives are based on monthly subscriptions and memberships,” according to a Jan. 18 article.
“The Access Pass is something that we’ve been considering for a while,” said Kevin Bell, Loon’s vice president of marketing.
He said the pass highlights Loon as a four-season resort, and the subscription payment makes what might be a challenging one-time hit for some season-pass buyers easier because it’s spread out. The pass can also be paid in full.
For skiers and snowboarders, the Access Pass makes sense because there are no blackout dates, said Bell, while other benefits include discounted tickets for friends at Loon and for the pass holder at six resorts in the West, a free tuning, discounts on lessons, snow tubing, Zipline, food, beverage and retail purchases, and unlimited use of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, the indoor climbing wall and the ice rink.
In the spring, summer and fall, Access Pass holders will be able to access the Gondola Skyride, Zipline, Aerial Forest Adventure Park, Loon Peak Disc Golf course, glacial caves, climbing wall and bungee trampoline.
They will also be able to use Loon’s downhill mountain biking trail, Phase 1 of which, said Bell, should be open this fall.
Although he declined to provide specifics, Bell said the response to the Access Pass has been very good, adding that only a limited number of passes will be made available.
Shannon Dunfey-Ball, marketing and communications manager at Ski New Hampshire, which represents 33 Alpine and cross-country resorts in the state, said the Loon Access Pass is a new concept for the organization and one that is unique “in the New Hampshire ski industry.”
Dunfey-Ball said “it is an interesting concept especially for skiers who are mountain bike enthusiasts.”
That group is among the many folks who Bell sees as potential Access Pass holders.
“It’s a wide group, and we’ve talked to avid mountain bikers who are skiers and snowboarders and they’re excited,” said Bell of the ability to combine two passions at one venue, albeit at different times of the year.
A quick Internet search of season passes offered by New Hampshire resorts reveals they come with an array of benefits and opportunities.
Like Loon, Gunstock Mountain in Gilford offers guests a comprehensive year-round experience through its Gunstock 360 pass, but not the ability to pay for it over time.
That said, the Gunstock 360 pass at $599 is $201 less than buying the Winter and Summer Prime memberships separately and it includes Mountain Top Yoga.
Cannon’s season pass now includes not just a discount on tune-ups and repairs and on retail purchases, but 2019/2020 pass holders will be able to ride the Aerial Tram next summer and fall while golfers who ski at Attitash and are season pass holders will get discounted greens fees at three courses.